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Incentive Zoning Update

Public open space is one of the benefits that are encouraged by incentive zoning.
Incentive zoning requires property owners to provide public benefits, such as affordable housing, open space, or historic preservation, to achieve their site's full building potential.

What’s Happening Now?

Incentive zoning is a set of requirements that property owners in certain zones must meet to achieve the full potential of their building site. Property owners are required to provide public benefits, such as affordable housing, historic preservation, and open space, in exchange for larger buildings.

We are undertaking a comprehensive, city-wide update of the incentive zoning requirements for the first time since they were created. Our update will combine several zone-specific programs into a consistent city-wide approach. Our update will also address issues relating to the requirements for specific public benefits and overall program benefits and costs.

We have been working with two stakeholder groups, one focusing on affordable housing and one focusing on historic preservation, open space, and other amenities. Both stakeholder groups have recently completed discussions about potential approaches to improve our current program. We anticipate that City Council will consider the stakeholder findings, as well as input from consultants, in the summer and early fall. After Council's consideration, we will develop draft legislation based on stakeholder input. We expect that our legislation will be available for public comment in late 2014 or early 2015.

Project Benefits

  • More public benefits, such as affordable housing or open space, throughout Seattle
  • Increased number of developers that use the incentive zoning program
  • More consistent regulations that are easier to understand

The End Result

Our update is intended to create consistent, city-wide incentive zoning rules that encourages developers to use the program and to provide substantial public benefits.

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